Innovation Lessons from Olympic Athlete Lolo Jones

The 2012 London Olympics are almost here. What can we learn about innovation from the athletes who are hard at work, training to be the best and represent their countries? U.S. hurdler Lolo Jones provides an important insight.

A recent Wired article takes a look at U.S. hurdler Lolo Jones, the support she needs in people and technology and it shares an interesting lesson learned: “One One-Hundredth of a Second Faster: Building Better Olympic Athletes.”

“Jones is attended by 22 scientists and technicians, paid for by Red Bull, her sponsor. It is her seventh training session with the team, and today they’ve arrayed 40 motion-capture cameras along the track. She’s also being monitored by a system called Optojump, which measures the exact location and duration of Jones’ contact with the rubberized surface on every step and after every hurdle. And a high-speed Phantom Flex camera rigged next to the track can zoom alongside Jones and film her at 1,500 frames a second.”

Jones could have trained forever without noticing the little things to improve that were caught by the technology. “A lot of things you don’t know, simply because you can’t measure them,” Richard Kirby, project engineer, says. “Getting data like this puts you in a position to ask intelligent questions.”

So, you are not an Olympic athlete, but wouldn’t you like your organization to be at peak performance?

What is your support system? Are you using the latest technology? What should be getting measured, so you too can be “in a position to ask intelligent questions?”

By Chuck Frey

About the author

Chuck Frey Senior Editor, founded and served as its publisher from its launch in 2002 until the partnership with Innovation Management in 2012. He is the publisher of The Mind Mapping Software Blog, the definitive souce for news, trends, tips and best practices for visual mapping tools. A journalist by trade, Chuck has over 14 years of experience in online marketing, and over 10 years experience in business-to-business public relations. His interests include creative problem solving, visual thinking, photography, business strategy and technology. His unique combination of experience and influences enables him to envision new possibilities and opportunities.